Vocalist/guitarist Brad Rhodes, drummer Tyler “Tyg” Duis, keyboardist/bassist Sammy Duis, and recently-added guitarist Jon Wiley make up DC-based Melodime, a band as passionate about music as they are about helping their community. Melodime recently started up a charity called “Now I Play Along Too” which collects new or gently used instruments in order to give the less fortunate the opportunity to play music.
Melodime’s show at Jammin Java this Saturday, April 19, will double as an instrument drive for their charity. If you bring a new or gently used instrument to donate, you will receive free admission to the show. Concert goers are encouraged to email email@example.com to let them know you’re going to donate, but you can still bring instruments even if you don’t alert them ahead of time. I had a chance to talk to Brad, Tyg, Sammy and Jon before their show this weekend to talk more about their charity efforts, and what’s in store for them in 2014.
DC Music Live: Can you talk about the instrument drive at the show this Saturday at Jammin Java and how people can get involved?
Brad Rhodes: Sure, so basically what we’re doing is if anybody brings a new or slightly used instrument to the show then they can get free admission. We have some people who have already contacted our manager in advance to do that, which you can do by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise you can just show up with an instrument and that will get you free admission. We’re also taking donations to the charity which you can do through our website (www.melodime.com).
DCML: How do hometown shows compare to shows out on the road?
Brad: We love the hometown shows especially when they’re kind of in the middle of these tours, just because it’s good to see familiar faces and play for a full room of your fans. I think there’s something special about that, especially this one with the instrument drive added, that will make for a cool night.
DCML: What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on tour?
Brad: Ooh, that’s a good one. We could probably give you like 5 things! One time we were on 95 going to Florida and our trailer just straight up popped off the hitch, and it was basically just connected by a chain, swinging around all crazy. But we survived, and the trailer survived as well. So that’s one thing – that was pretty crazy though, pretty scary.
DCML: I saw something about a chihuahua rescue on Facebook at one point.
BR: Oh yeah, that was a few years ago when we were leaving New York. We were in New Jersey – there’s a YouTube video of this somewhere. There was a chihuahua that was running down the middle of the highway and we tried to rescue it, and while we tried to rescue it he ran into the wheel well of our trailer and wouldn’t come out. We stopped traffic for a good amount of time on the highway, and the police came. And once again, we all survived.
DCML: Did the chihuahua ever find its owner?
Brad: We never found who the owner was. I think we called it in and the police took it over at that point. I think animal rescue came eventually, but we didn’t keep the dog or anything because he was a little small for our taste. And he was kind of mean.
DCML: How would you describe your live shows to someone who has never seen you perform?
Jon Wiley: My first reaction was just to say “Oh, it’s good!” But more specifically, we try to put together a really cohesive show with high energy. We don’t want to be a band who shows up and plays a song just like it is on the record. We like to do things different and we put an effort into putting that energy and the package together.
DCML: You recently released The B-Room Diaries, Vol. II for anyone to purchase. Can you tell me about this album and how it came about?
Sammy Duis: This is a sequel to The B-Room Diaries, Vol. I – which is a shocker I’m sure. Basically it’s a bunch of songs that work together in a thematic package that we didn’t feel were necessarily right for the expensive, full production albums, but were songs that meant a lot to us and that we play a good amount live, and that people seem to like. So it seems like between every full production album we’re trying to put out these other songs, just for people who want more and for our own creative satisfaction.
The theme of this one is kind of – there’s a lot of angst in it, actually, which is kind of different for us. Just things that we needed to get off our chest and different sounds and styles that we wanted to explore a little bit. It’s now available to everyone – it was just available to some supporters that helped us raise money for our latest album for about a year and a half. But just this week we put it out for everyone, and people have been downloading it, and most of them have written something to us saying they really liked it. So that’s available just on our website (www.melodime.com) and our Bandcamp website – we’re not putting it on iTunes or anything like that. But you can get the album at shows too, you can get a download card for it.
DCML: Last time we talked you were just about to go on The Rock Boat. Now that you’ve been on the boat, can you talk about your experience?
Brad: We loved the boat. We had heard a lot about it leading up to it, because when we were on the road even beforehand we ran into a lot of Rock Boaters who would tell us that whatever our expectations were, they were going to be trumped by how awesome the boat was. And I think that happened to all of us. We had a great response from most fans that we met on the boat, as well as other artists that we’re going to be putting together future tours with. So all around I think it was very beneficial while also being just a great vacation for everyone.
DCML: What song do you wish you had written?
Brad: That’s a good question.
Tyler (Tyg) Duis: “Let It Go” from Frozen.
Sammy: “Happy Birthday.”
Brad: We’d probably be rich if we wrote that. But, a serious answer – I feel like something by like Billy Joel or Elton John, or Tom Petty.
Jon: “Tiny Dancer.”
Brad: Jon has aspirations of one day being a tiny dancer.
DCML: What are you most excited about for the band to do in 2014?
Brad: I’m most excited to record something else. I guess it hasn’t been that long since we did Where the Sinners and the Saints Collide, but we have some ideas up our sleeve of albums we want to record, maybe having to do with The B-Room Diaries as well as a studio album. So I’m excited to get that planned and start writing for those future projects. And now we have our own guitarist, Jon Wiley, to record with.
DCML: Is there anything else you want to add?
Brad: We just want people to come to the show on Saturday and be tired for Easter!